Apple CEO Tim Cook has sent a lengthy email to staff in response to reports on the alleged unsafe and oppressive working conditions at its Chinese supplier factories

The New York Times article claimed Foxconn employees work excessive overtime where they "stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk," amid scores of other damaging allegations.

The report also quotes a former Foxconn boss as saying: "Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost. Workers' welfare has nothing to do with their interests."

Defined by values

Cook has hit back at the NYT's report telling his "team" that the company cares about each employee in the supply line and that no company has striven to improve working conditions like Apple has.

He said in the lengthy email: "As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple's values today, and I'd like to address this with you directly. We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain.

"Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don't care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It's not who we are."

Workers rights

Cook claimed to be "outraged" by the allegations and said Apple has "raised the bar" for its partners by going deeper into the supply chain.

"We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment," he continued. "As you know, more than a million people have been trained by our program.

"We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do - and never have done - is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word."

Apple's manufacturing methods in China have been called into question further this week as the company announced its highest single quarter revenue ever with record iPhone and iPad sales.

Via: 9to5Mac